Ashland Kroc presents ‘Matilda Jr.’

by Hugo Bravo

The Ashland Kroc Youth Theatre took a bow after three successful performances of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical The Ashland Theatre in Ohio.

Matilda Jr. is a streamlined version of the Broadway adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Matilda. Matilda Wormwood, a girl blessed with intelligence and mysterious powers, defends her classmates at Crunchem Hall Primary School and helps her favorite teacher, Miss Honey. Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical Jr. is specifically designed for younger performers and audiences, with all the songs from the original musical. The Ashland Kroc’s presentation of Matilda Jr. is their fourth production with their largest cast to date, featuring two alternating leads and more than 57 children from Ashland County and surrounding communities.

“One of my favorite moments early in the show is when Matilda sings, ‘Even if you are little you can do a lot.’ It’s such a powerful reminder for each of us, tall and small, to take ownership in how we can create our reality,” says Major Billy Francis, corps officer at Ashland. “Through the process of putting on this musical, these youth are doing just that: they are joining together and working hard to create this extraordinary event for their community. We think they deserve a standing ovation for all their work.”

Along with teaching children how to act and sing, stage techniques, and how to be part of a production from start to finish, the Kroc’s Youth Theatre takes a holistic, ministry-oriented approach to performance arts.

“We seek to inspire the development of each performer in an encouraging, cast-oriented, Christ-centered environment,” says Major Annelise Francis.

Dan Lawson, director of community relations and development for the Ashland Kroc Center, thanked the Ashland community for their support of the production.

“From the financial support of the Ashland County Community Foundation, Masterminds Escape Room & Game Library and Donley Ford, to The Ashland Theatre graciously partnering with us to host the production, and Vinyl Marketing for their assistance with developing our promotional video, we can’t thank our community enough,” said Lawson.

“Their support not only helps underwrite the cost of this production, but it makes it possible for the amazing talent these youth have to be developed, grown, and shared with the greater community.”